3D printing is beginning to take the world by storm and these printers are now beginning to be used to produce everyday items – 3D printing is no longer the work of science fiction!
From prototyping to high-end accessories and jewellery 3D printing is becoming more and more common and is revolutionising manufacturing processes.
One company who has embraced 3D printing is Freshfiber who use the technique to produce complex phone cases for the latest crop of smartphones. This has allowed the European design brand to bring a highly-detailed fashion edge to their accessories for electronic devices.
By adopting an approach that utilises 3D printing the designers at Freshfiber can create complex phone case designs that are breath-taking in their inventiveness and certainly couldn’t be achieved through more traditional production methods.
For example, the Freshfiber Macedonia case is based on the bone structure of birds and the organic feel of the case as is dependent on the accuracy and intricacy that can be achieved via a 3D printer which builds up the structure of the phone case one layer at a time using a laser.
You can find out more about the different technologies used in 3D printing here but the process of 3D printing that builds up an item layer-by-layer using a laser to bond the powder is laser sintering.
The designs for the phone cases are turned into a digital file that represents the layers of the case, this digital file then provides the guidelines that the 3D printer follows as it builds up the structure of the phone case.
The range of phone cases from Freshfiber seemed to have been their entry into the world of 3D printing and it is one that they are continuing to explore. The phone cases are produced using nylon fibre but their new collection of 3D jewellery also includes the use of metal.
You can find out more about the materials that can be used in 3D printers here.
3D printing allows a designer’s skills to run wild and for products to be produced as close to that vision as possible. The Cobble necklace from Freshfiber by designer Louis Filosa has an organic feel that feels inspired by the Macedonia case and is an unusual feature piece that again owes its ingenuity to 3D printing.
This fantastic technological leap I feel is going to usher in an exciting period for design where designers push their imaginations their limit and create truly unique items, from phone cases to jewellery to home accessories the sky is the limit.
Blog post by Ben P who writes on a range of design and technology subjects for Covers and Cases in the UK.